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The Cracked Pot


This story is about how something can be a blessing even if it doesn’t serve an originally designed purpose.

A water bearer in India had two large pots. They were hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, while the other pot was perfect. The perfect pot always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the house. Whereas, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years, this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to the house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. However, the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection. It was miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream.

“I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you.”
“Why?” asked the bearer. “What are you ashamed of?”
“I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load. Because of my flaws, you don’t get as much water from your efforts.” the pot said.

The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot. In his compassion, he said, “As we walk back, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.”

Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wildflowers on the side of the path. This was cheering, but at the end of the trail, the cracked pot still felt bad for leaking half its load. So, again, the Pot apologized to the bearer for its failure.

The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pots side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them. For two years, I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers. Without you being just the way you are, we could not enjoy this beauty.”

The things that appear to be our greatest flaws can also be our greatest strength. Something that prevents completion in one circumstance can be perfect for another. Reframe is a powerful coaching tool. Take time to identify the applications where you have just what is needed. Thinking outside the box sometimes just requires looking for the gift in what appears to be a curse. Even if 80% is wrong what is the 20% that is perfect?

Image by h kama from Pixabay